Weekly Words |January 1, 2023
Wishing all of our scholars, families, teachers and staff a Happy New Year! We wish you all an abundance of success, celebration, and joy as we enter a new calendar year! As always, we thank you all for your support. It takes a village to raise a child and we cannot do it without you all!
Welcome Back!
Team and Family,

We are so excited to get back to our scholars after a restful winter break! Hopefully you had some time to relax, recuperate, and rejuvenate yourself for the semester ahead. No staff deserves appreciation more than you all do; thank you for the countless hours and energy you put into our work. In this week back, I want to echo a sentiment that I left you with in December. The secret to incredible success in student achievement is not just well aligned lessons. The secret is in RAPPORT and RELATIONSHIPS!
Simply put, our scholars perform better and behave more appropriately when they know and believe that their teacher cares about them individually. 

In closing, we all have been out of regular routines and procedures over the last couple of weeks. It is imperative for us to begin a new semester as if it were the first day of school to ensure that students are set up for success and we, as educators, are not falling into a deficit with procedures, classroom management, and academic rigor from the start of a semester.

I am excited to bring in 2023 with you all and I know this will be our best year yet!

In Service to You,
Mr. Walker
Teacher & Staff Spotlight
Each week, we will celebrate teachers and staff members who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to provide all scholars a high-quality education.

This week, we recognize:
At 3 years old, Ms. DeWeerdt knew she had a passion for teaching others! It started with “playing school” at home with her sister during summer vacation and naturally transitioned to babysitting and leading Girl Scout Troops.

Prior to joining our Flower family, Ms. DeWeerdt spent time in Iowa, Minnesota, and Taiwan teaching students! Ms. DeWeerdt joined us for the 2019-20 school year and has always been driven to perform at her best for our students. My favorite thing about Ms. DeWeerdt is her confidence, expertise, and reliability. Working with Ms. DeWeerdt has been an absolute pleasure because she has an intrinsic motivation to be the best. While we love that, we want to make sure outstanding teachers like Ms. DeWeerdt are not taken for granted. Our job is to make sure Ms. DeWeerdt is recognized, celebrated, challenged in meaningful ways, and supported in her responsibilities as a classroom teacher and grade band lead. This is our priority as we look ahead to 2023.

Ms. DeWeerdt, we see the innovation in your classroom. We see the collaboration with teammates. We even see your desire to constantly sharpen your skillset with seeking new methods and programs to improve student achievement and pursuing avenues to extend your education and broaden your impact on the world. Thank you, Ms. DeWeerdt, for all you do! We love and appreciate you!

School Culture & Events:
Dean's Office Re-Location

As we enter a new year, our Dean's Office has a new permanent location in order for Mrs. Rushing to have ample room for addressing student incidents and conferencing with families and campus visitors. Mrs. Rushing has transitioned to the office space held previously by our counselor and SLP/SLPA. Michelle Kokalis and students receiving speech services will now utilize the office space held previously by Mrs. Rushing.
School Culture & Events:
Health Tech Re-Location

We also bring 2023 in with a change in location with our Health Tech Office. The Health Tech Office will now be stationed in our Building B, outside of Ms. Medina's Office so that Kimberly can have sufficient space to operate. Kimberly will still assist the front office during arrival, dismissal, and high traffic periods of time, but she will administer medication and provide treatment to student injuries here. A friendly reminder that students should only be sent to the Health Tech with emergencies that cannot be treated in the classroom. Minor cuts, minor scrapes, mild stomachaches and headaches can be remedied without a visit to the Health Tech.
School Culture & Events:
AMS Enrollment Events

As we launch into open enrollment season, it is critical that we go out into our communities, spread the word about the wonderful things happening with AMS, and recruit future Turtles!

We would love to see our staff represented at various events this winter and spring! Our first event of 2023 is an Open House event on Thursday, January 12 from 4-6 p.m. with dinner and tours for future families! We will need 2 staff members to assist! Please let Mr. Walker know of your interest!
School Culture & Events:
Daily Attendance &
Family Communication Log

Our daily attendance average goal is 95%. We know that many variables for student attendance may be outside of our control, however, we must focus on what is within our control. Our families who provide unexcused absences must be contacted on a daily basis as a check in, to stress the impact of an absence, and to offer support - such as providing a clear plan for completing make up assignments. Our contact tracker is completed. We must continue to first call and then, rely on platforms such as ClassDojo, to reach our families. The graphic attached provides staggering statistics regarding the impact of chronic absenteeism.

Family Communication Log is below. Please update it on a daily basis.

  1. Go to your class tab
  2. Find the scholar
  3. Fill out all the required fields: date, time, reason, type of communication, outcome, and follow-up.
School Culture & Events:
Wednesday Detention

Parent communication must be made and confirmed by the teacher assigning the detention! The deadline to assign a detention is each Tuesday, by EOD.

Important Reminders: 
The detention list will be sent to teachers and front office staff prior to detention. During detention, students will complete behavior reflection forms, restorative letters, or copy essays related to why they are in detention. Essays need to be taken home and signed by the parent. If not returned the next day, they have recess detention and are copying the essay again.

School Culture & Events:
Winter Carnival Marketplace

Our annual Winter Carnival Marketplace Celebration reached a new attendance record! With nearly 400 in attendance, it was an incredible night! Thank you all for your love and support!

From set up to take down, we appreciate the hard work that went into our evening from our teachers and staff! Huge shout-out to Ms. Larsen and Ottawa University for spectacular musical performances! We send another huge shout-out to Mr. Boozer, Mr. Flanders, Ms. Perez, and Ms. Torres for pulling community resources for the event with wonderful raffle prizes for families!

We thank you all for your contributions to make this event successful! Our vendors had amazing items to sell and Mr. and Mrs. Claus took our breath away with holiday photoshoots! We were entertained the entire night by DJ Rochelle and her holiday mixes!

Last, but not least, a special thank you goes to Mrs. Rushing for planning and coordinating the event!
School Culture & Events:
Coffee with the Principal
Our next coffee with the principal PAC meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 11 with families in the cafeteria!
School Culture & Events:
Great Skate
Please make sure to mark your calendars for our welcome back fundraiser event held at Great Skate on Friday, January 13 from 4 - 7 p.m.

Admission will be:
$12.00 (includes skate rentals)
Non-Skaters: $5.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit AMS Flower!

Bring your scholars to enjoy roller skating with friends, great music and awesome deals!
School Culture & Events:

MLK Day is Monday, January 16. There is no school. Please incorporate MLK Day lessons and service projects into your content areas as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his life of service to others.
School Culture & Events:
P.O.W.E.R. Assembly
Our next P.O.W.E.R. Assembly is Wednesday, January 25! Please mark your calendars and adjust lesson plans to accommodate.

Grades K-4 will be 8:30 - 9:15 a.m. and
Grades 5-8 will be 9:45 to 10:30 a.m.

Ms. Medina/Mrs. Rushing will be in contact with information to gather your student of the month, be on the lookout for students showing P.O.W.E.R!
School Culture & Events:
Q2 Affirmation Celebration

Our next Affirmation Celebration will be Tuesday, January 31! This is for our students who had stellar performances throughout Q2 as reflected in Affirmation Signatures and positive notes home for early elementary students. Stay tuned for details!
School Culture & Events:
Girls' Basketball
Girls' Basketball season is right around the corner! Coach Leshikar is excited to start the year picking up where the AMS Flower Athletic Department left off in 2022! We look forward to another great season, please stay tuned for our calendar of games!
School Academics & Instruction:
Interim Assessment 2 - Data Dive
We will continue our data dive analysis of K-3 DIBELS and 3-8 Interim Assessment Data this week! Please come prepared for Wednesday's Unity Circle with updated Data Dive documents that we began working on together at our December 14 Unity Circle Data Dive. Please utilize prep time this week to work on the data dive document and seek support from the leadership team with questions!
School Academics & Instruction:
i-Ready Assessments
i-Ready Diagnostic 2 is right around the corner! While we will have school-wide incentives and competitions for classes and individuals with the highest growth, pump these assessments up this week as these will be a key indication of how students are progressing this year in Math and Reading! Please review the schedule below to know when your homeroom will test!
School Academics & Instruction:
Weekly Assessments
Weekly assessments must be proctored the week they are scheduled in the pacing guide, regardless of current pacing.

Unless there is an emergency (lockdown, internet issues, etc.), tests should be taken. In the event of an emergency, please connect with admin on how best to proctor the assessment. If you have an absence, please plan accordingly to ensure that students are tested during the week when you are present.
School Academics & Instruction:
Grades & Gradebook Expectations
Remember that two grades, per week, per subject, should be entered weekly. If you are listed in the weekly report that Mrs. Riffenburg sends out and have not entered grades for last week or a previous week, please correct by end of week.  

School Academics & Instruction:
AZELLA Updates
The AZELLA spring reassessment is quickly approaching! Utilize the Arizona Dept. of Education’s resources (link below) to help student’s prepare for their testing. This would be beneficial for all students, not only EL students. After clicking the link, select 2022-2023 AZELLA Placement Sample Tests and Resources. Students are assessed on listening, reading, writing, and speaking. You can view the rubrics utilized for the speaking and writing portions and sample placement tests for the various stages. Stage I is kindergarten, stage II is 1st and 2nd grade, stage III is grades 3-5, and stage IV is grade 6-8.
School Academics & Instruction:
Upcoming Academic Dates
i-Ready Diagnostic #2: January 9 - January 13
AZELLA Spring Reassessment: January 30 - March 17 
School Academics & Instruction:
Computer Based Testing
Are our scholars ready for computer-based testing? The Science-Tech Academic team will begin visiting Computer Science classes to ensure that the curriculum is being used most effectively. Preparations for Semester 2 coding, with continued practice in Applied Digital Skills, is underway. The global event, Hour of Code (hourofcode.com) takes place during Computer Science Education Week December 5-11, with celebrities already lined up. ADE has resources and training for hosting an Hour of Code
School Academics & Instruction:
Teacher Pacing

We recognize that factors such as student comprehension, accommodations, fire drills, assemblies, parent-teacher conference schedules, etc. can present challenges with staying on pace with curriculum content, however, we continue to remain off pace with executing our curriculum.
To support our students, we cannot continue at this pace.

In response, our campus leaders are committed to supporting you in catching up. In the coming days, please plan to meet with your admin coach and members of the AMS Academic Team to work together to catch up on pacing.
School Academics & Instruction:
TLaC Focus:
No Opt Out

Ever have a student answer incorrectly, but then you immediately move on to another student without returning to the original student with the misconception?

No Opt Out ensures that you return to the student to scaffold questioning so that you effectively check for understanding with that student.

For example, Teacher asks: "Elias, from what point of view did the author tell this story from?" *Elias answers incorrectly with 3rd person point of view.*

Teacher responds: "Not quite, Amy, from what POV did the author tell the story from?"
*Amy answers correctly with 1st person point of view.

Teacher: "Amy, that is correct, how did you know?"
*Amy explains correctly.

Teacher needs to return to Elias to identify why he answered 3rd person and then, move to asking Elias why the correct response is 1st person to effectively check his understanding.
School Operations:
Raptor is Here
We will begin using the Raptor Visitor Management System at our Flower campus to strengthen our program of campus safety for students and faculty. The Raptor system will better allow us to screen visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools and provide us with a safer environment for our students and staff.

The Raptor system will check to ensure that registered sexual offenders are not entering our school campuses without our knowledge. The Raptor system checks the visitor's name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. The registered sex offender database is the only official database checked by the Raptor system.
Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit. A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit our schools simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork.
School Operations:
Maintenance Tickets
There is a new maintenance ticket system should you need maintenance support with items in your classroom. It is pretty straightforward, please be sure to provide as much detail as possible and include photos whenever possible to support the ticket. Please reach out if you have any difficulty accessing the ticket system.

Ticket Link Below:
School Operations:
Field Trips
Field Trips take a lot of behind the scenes planning and coordination. From budgeting and planning details to ironing out logistics, field trips are challenging to plan…and execute. If you are interested in planning a field trip for our students, the authorization form is attached. Please notify Ms. Medina once you are beginning to complete the form and we will work together to ensure we have all bases covered.
We need at least 3 weeks prior notice to the date of the trip.
School Operations:
Clubs, sports, tutoring needs to be approved prior to starting. This is vital as several behind the scenes operations must take place with setting up a club, sport, or tutoring activity after school. From logistics to planning purposefully, extracurriculars take time to develop! Please review the attachment to gain a better idea of the approval process. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. 
School Reminders & Resources:
Lesson Plan Objectives
Lesson objectives must be posted in a visible place daily in 100% of classrooms. Objectives are a requirement and an AMS Essential. They guide your planning, set purpose for the lesson’s activities and should be aligned to your end of lesson exit ticket or assessment. Please make this adjustment, beginning Monday.
School Reminders & Resources:
Lesson Plans
Lesson Plans must be submitted weekly via SharePoint. Each teacher has a folder labeled by their name. Within each folder, there are cascaded folders by quarter. If you have questions on how to upload to SharePoint or do not have access, please contact me immediately.

School Reminders & Resources:
Unity Circle Plan
2 - 2:30 p.m. - Staff Meeting/Data Dive Prep
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. - Data Diving
3:30 - 4 p.m. - Teacher Work Time

We are in gymnasium, please bring laptops.
Shout-out to Mr. Flanders for receiving the Turtle-ly Awesome Pin! Mr. Flanders has been an incredible first grade teacher, PLC lead, and a resource to others around campus in more ways than one! Thank you for lending knowledge and wisdom, always repairing the laminator, and chopping down trees, when necessary!

Shout-out to Mr. Cruz for receiving the P.O.W.E.R Unity Chain! You have made great strides this year as a teacher, coach, and staff member! We are so proud of you!

We send a huge shout-out to all teachers and staff for an amazing ending to 2022! It was so fun to end the year in celebration with you all! It is my hope that 2023 brings more joy and celebration to the best staff!

2022-23 AMS Flower Calendar: